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2006 Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay 1974 Chateau Haut-Brion

July 10, 2016

These notes stem from a dinner at Otto Ristorante on 29 June 2016 courtesy of Samuel who was eager to try his latest acquisition, the 1974 Ch Haut-Brion. But, first, we began with a 2006 Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay that I’d cellared for several years. Surprisingly, this Margaret River white was still remarkably youthful, displaying generous notes of pear, crisp citrus and lime of fabulous intensity, lifted with overtones of honeysuckle, cashews and crème, powerful and amply layered, still very tight and tense, yet to fully open, developing a hint of sappy nectarine after some time. Huge ageing potential here even after 10 years that I’ve never come across from Leeuwin. Clearly not ready yet and may require at least another 5 years or more of cellaring.

The cork of the 1974 Ch Haut-Brion was totally soaked through and, predictably, it fractured during extraction. With its ullage sitting at mid-shoulder, I was rather worried but the wine proved to be intact, displaying an earthy pungency characteristic of Pessac-Leognan that was almost peaty, still imbued with dark roses amidst dryish textures, mellow and gentle on the palate where its acidity still held, firmly structured with eventual notes of dark plums emerging from the classic glow of an aged claret. Not the most profound Haut-Brion nor the most delicious, but I’ve never had a bad Haut-Brion and this is another example of how well the wines of this estate can hold up even in average vintages. Thank you, Sam.

2016-06-29 19.30.19

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